Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Black Forest Bison - Rocky Mountain Red Bison Jerky

Black Forest Bison - Rocky Mountain Red Bison JerkyNext in the series on Black Forest Bison Jerky is this "Rocky Mountain Red". See my previous review of their Gunsmoke variety.

Black Forest Bison is a small family operated bison ranch just north of Colorado Springs, CO. It's been in operation for six years, dedicated to raising all natural grass fed bison. They sell steaks, roasts, ribs, sausage, and jerky.

This Rocky Mountain Red is described by the company as, "Pure Rocky Mountain Bison with our signature smoke flavor up front and just a little bite of pepper in the middle to keep you warm under the wide open stars."


Bison, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, water, herbs & spices.

The soy sauce, herbs & spices is noted as being all organic ingredients.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smoky flavor, a meaty aroma, a light saltiness, and a faint spicy tingle on the tongue. The surface flavor seems to have a medium-level flavor intensity overall, good enough to suck on a piece for several seconds before chewing.

In the chewing, what I taste first is the worcestershire sauce, some garlic, and a light spicy burn.

For being described by the company as having a "little bite of pepper", it seems to stands up to that exactly. I do feel a light spicy burn on the tongue, perhaps enough to be considered "mild-medium" by my standards, but maybe "medium" to tongues of lesser tolerance.

However, it seems the primary flavor of this jerky overall is the worcestershire sauce. But unlike with the Gunsmoke variety, I want to say this Rocky Mountain Red has more soy sauce flavor mixed into that worcestershire. In fact, I'll just say that the primary flavor is the combination of worcestershire and soy sauce.

The second-most strongest flavor is the "herbs & spices". I think it's mostly represented as garlic, but there's clearly more to it than that. While I do get a light spicy burn, I don't necessarily taste anything in the way of chile peppers, though that spice could be in there. I'm trying to decide if I can taste black pepper, but it's hard to tell if it's there. Either way, there's plenty of flavor coming from this.

The saltiness is the third-most dominant flavor. I'd rate it at a medium-level on an individual piece, but building up to a higher intensity after eating several pieces.

I don't really taste much natural meat flavor in this. In analyzing the flavors very carefully, I think I do taste something resembling meat, but there's nothing that clearly punches out the flavor of meat. I did mention a "meaty aroma" in the first paragraph, but that's just the smell wafting up into my nostrils from the back of my mouth, and not something from my taste buds.

Overall, what you're going to taste is a triple team of worcestershire/soy sauce, garlic/spice flavor, and salt, with some light spicy heat.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

It's a dry jerky, but somewhat soft and tender, with a good deal of flexibility before cracking. They're very easy to tear apart with my fingers, and easy to chew.

The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and is easily chewed down to a soft mass, with just a tad bit of rubbery resistance initially. Once chewed down, it has a very steak-like feeling, much like one cooked medium though a tad more soft. It's not really mushy, crumbly or gummy.

I found many pieces to have thin streaks of gristle running all the way through, but in chewing, I couldn't really feel them at all. Otherwise, nothing chewy in the way of tendon or stringy sinews, and no visible signs of fat.

It's also very clean eating, dropping no fragments as I tore pieces apart, and leaving no residue on my fingers.

Snack Value

Black Forest Bison sells this Rocky Mountain Red online at a price of $11.00 for a 3.5oz package. If you were to purchase 3 packages (each a different variety), the shipping costs would amount to $10.50 (if sent to my home town). That works out to a total price of $43.50, or a per ounce price of $4.14.

For general purpose jerky snacking, at the $4.14 per ounce price, this jerky seems to have a weak value. While I do get some good snackability from this, due to its good overall flavor, and good meat consistency, that price is very high for jerky in general. Compared to a lot of other good-rated and best-rated jerky brands I've reviewed, I could buy twice as much jerky elsewhere and still get the same snackability.

As a spicy buffalo jerky, at the same $4.14 price per ounce, it's perhaps a better value because there is some spiciness to this, and that bison meat is expected to be more expensive. But I still can't consider it a fair value. The reason why I would buy bison jerky is to enjoy the unique flavor of bison, and because I don't really taste any natural meat flavors in this, that reduces this jerky down to just its seasonings and marinade. It's just really tough to justify $4.14 per ounce for a blend of seasonings and marinade.

But I know there are die hard bison meat lovers out there, particularly those who want grass-fed bison. Add to it that this jerky uses organic seasonings, and that alone could make it worth the price.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This Rocky Mountain Red from Black Forest Bison provides a lot of snackability for me, mainly due to its good overall flavor of worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic, spices, and salt. And it's got just enough spicy heat to keep hot jerky lovers teased. But it's doesn't quite have enough "wow factor" to get it up to a best rating.

Without offering any bison meat flavor, this jerky is still only about its seasonings and marinade. Even if the bison were to taste like beef, I'd still welcome that meat flavor.

But it has a great meat consistency, being easy to tear apart, easy to chew, and with a great chewing texture.

My recommended beer pairing, try a red ale.

Rating: Good

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